Frank Stubbs: Fun in the sun

12/13: Fulham 0-1 Arsenal - Per Mertesacker

Fun in the sun

Ambling along the Thames is a superb way to see our wonderful capital city and doing it with like-minded people, on a vessel with a well-stocked bar makes it an even more attractive prospect. There is no doubt it would not quite be the same if it was pouring with rain and our team goes on to lose.

We probably should have all known when London was simply bathed in beautiful sunshine it would go on to be a wonderful day on all fronts.

Leaving my house at about 6am on Saturday morning did feel a bit odd given we were only going to west London but the spectacular sunrise made up for it and the usual banter associated with matchday started to kick in straight away once we all met shortly after.

Brekkie 'on the run' followed and soon we were gathered at Embankment Pier for the novelty that is travelling to an away game by boat.

The early departure meant we headed east initially, just as in previous years, before turning near the O2 Arena and taking in all the wonderful sights during the journey west through the city to Putney Pier, just on the other side of the river from Craven Cottage.

As always the atmosphere was top quality throughout and the glorious weather not only saw us all arrive in fine spirits but many a little 'pinker' than they probably wanted to be! From snow to sunburn inside one month... only in our country!

Football can often be the excuse for entertaining off-the-field activities of course but as always the excellent build-up made way for the main event and our latest hugely-important fixture, this time at the home of Fulham.

Everton at home on Tuesday night saw a relatively feisty affair, some of which gave the officials difficult decisions to make. Saturday on the other hand saw two sendings off that could be deemed as clumsy or even accidental. Red cards were certainly not befitting of a game that was played in the right spirit. The resulting bans, meaning a player from both sides will miss three of their remaining four fixtures, really does seem extremely harsh.

Rules are rules I guess and whatever happened on the day the most crucial aspect is we came out with the three points.

On a tough day where we could have paid for being perhaps over-cautious we achieved just that after our very own BFG nodded home that all-important winner.

I would take a 1-0 win at Fulham all day long and in this so, so close run-in it is a massive result.

Man United come to London N5 next having just been crowned champions so as much as it pains any loyal Gooner to say it, congratulations to them.

Back in 1991 we won the league just before we played Sunday's opponents and their players showed huge respect to our achievement on the day. We of course then went on to beat them to top off the day.

Since then we have won the league at Old Trafford of course, something that we all know must have been so painful to witness as a United fan. They will look at Sunday as a party I'm sure.

Respect and class are aspects we are very proud of as a club and are extremely important in all walks of life. However, a win for us on the day is massively important. Achieving that is down to us doing what we know we can on the pitch.

We as proud Gooners can play our part on both fronts.


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